W hen the President announced the 2013 budget proposal (and budget cuts) just this Monday, panic began to set in for National Weather Service offices across the nation, vital positions critical to their lifesaving mission now at stake.
I f passed, the budget would call for a $40 million cut from the NWS. $10 million of that would come from cuts to NWS Information Technology Offices across the United States - 122 jobs, cut.
"They have one person in the whole office that makes sure the systems run correctly and that person sometimes acts as one of the meteorologists in station and hops on the radar to issue a warning," explained President of the National Weather Service Employers Organization, Dan Sobien. "They want to get rid of that person."
Scott Plinschke is the Information Technology Officer at the NWS Amarillo office. He's worked at the Amarillo location for 22 years, and coworkers said it would be a mistake to let someone so important to their mission, with so much working knowledge of their systems, go.
"That person is actually pretty vital to our mission here at the National Weather Service," said Plinschke's coworker and NWS Hydrometeorological Tecnhician, Stephen Bilodeau. "He's the longest person here and the first person to go, really doesn't seem right."
Sobien said the Amarillo location, along with many other weather forecasting offices, are already short-staffed. Eliminating one more person, he feels, will make it even more difficult to alert the public about possible natural disasters.
"It's a dangerous proposal. You're talking about people's lives and the tornados you get out there in the Panhandle and the High Plains area, it's a very dangerous proposition," said Sobien.